Pro's & Con's about Direct TV

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Christo Ramo, Oct 20, 2003.

  1. Christo Ramo

    Christo Ramo Stunt Coordinator

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    I am getting ready to convert from Cable to Direct TV. My main reason is I have a 1st generation Tivo and looking into getting another for a Theater I am building in my basement. I like the fact that Direct TV lets you have a Tivo that has a digital output on it. The 1st gen does not. Also I noticed that some of these newer boxes have component connections on them. Does this mean that they can accept HDTV? I am buying a 40" hdtv and would love to take advantage of that while I am in the spending mood. Does anyone know if this is possible or when somehting along these lines might be available? One other determining factor is I could get another tivo for $99 rather than $500+ - also, does anyone know if those tivo's are activated or will I have to subscribe to the service.

    Hope this wasn't too confusing! Thanks.
     
  2. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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  3. Tim K

    Tim K Second Unit

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    As I mentioned in your other post, HiDef receivers for DirecTV are quite expensive unless you get an older version one (RCA HD100 or Samsung T150 I think) off of eBay for $100-200. Most of the New HD receivers are $400+. That is the #1 reason I stick with Cable. The HD cable box is the same price as the regular cable box....$6/mo. Also, you may be close enough to Philly to get the Over-The-Air (OTA) network HD signals with a rooftop antenna (NBC,CBS,ABC,PBS, WB and whenever Fox gets around to it). If so, you will want to consider getting a receiver that can decode both DirectTV HD and OTA HD. I think the Samsung and RCA boxes do so.

     
  4. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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  5. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    All HD-capable DirecTV boxes will also tune ota digital and ota analog channels via an antenna.

    The quality of the ota digital tuners varies from mfr to mfr. Current Hughes and the old RCA boxes are the worst, new Sony and Zenith boxes are the best.

    Like Stephen Tu, I see no problems being able to record HD content on the upcoming HD Tivo units--you probably won't be able to copy the bitstream unaltered from an HD-Tivo to a D-VHS deck for permanent copies, but timeshifting should be ok.
     
  6. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    I have cable but have been on the fence for a long time. With DirecTV, can I watch 1 show, and record (on VHS for now) another, in 2 separate rooms at once? (I.e., 4 separate feeds.) Easy to do this with cable, but I get confusing answers for a dish.
     
  7. Tim K

    Tim K Second Unit

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  8. John Robert

    John Robert Stunt Coordinator

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    One West Coast advantage of satellite is the availability of East Coast network feeds. Not only do you get an extra NFL game, but it is nice to watch Letterman/Leno at 8:30 pm if you want. Also easy to Tivo 2 different shows on at the same time in your time zone...
     
  9. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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  10. marc

    marc Stunt Coordinator

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    I beleive it is $5 per month per TIVO unit.
     
  11. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    DirecTV charges $5/month Tivo fee for ALL DirecTivos on the account. If you have the Total Choice Premiere programming package, they will waive the Tivo fee. DirecTV does charge a $5/month mirror fee for each additional receiver on the account. The fee applies to all types of receivers.

    -Robert
     
  12. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Robert- Thanks! [​IMG] (Comcast says they are going to raise my cable rates AGAIN in a month or two.)

    And I think I know the answer to this one: on my system, the "digital" cable channels look a lot worse than the analog (they sacrifice quality for number of channels). "Digital" quality on DirecTV is much better, right?

    One more: does a DirecTivo box exist with a digital DD (/DTS?) 5.1 output (coax or optical)? Can't get that on my cable system either.
     
  13. John Robert

    John Robert Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes, there are both HiDef and SD boxes with optical out. Not alot of programs in DD though...Band of Brothers on HBO was great in 5.1!
     
  14. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    That's what I thought. Most are sent in stereo. But at least the option is there...

    Oo, (sorry!) another question: is there a 1 box solution for DirecTV, TiVo, *and* HDTV?
     
  15. Tim K

    Tim K Second Unit

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  16. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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  17. Brian Fitterman

    Brian Fitterman Stunt Coordinator

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    DirecTivo Advantages:

    1) Can record 2 things at once while watching a pre-recorded program.
    2) They record the bit stream directly from the sat. This means recorded quality is EXACTLY the same as live. There are no video quality settings. I traded the Series II SA (standalone cable) for Series I direcTivo and there is definitly better PQ with the DirecTivo.
    3) A 35 hour unit will let you record over 30 hours of material since the compression is done on the DirecTV side. A 60 hour Standalone Tivo2 will get only 17 hours on best quality.
    4) $5 for Tivo no matter how many units you have connect to the dish. I have 4, one has a lifetime (they used to allow that so I am grandfathered) so I pay $0 for Tivo Service. But even if I did not have that lifetime it would still only be $5/month. Each SA cable Tivo is $12 if I remember correctly.
    5) All DirecTivo units (including Series 1) have optical out so they support and record DD5.1.

    If you have DirecTV, it is a no brainer to get the DirecTivo.

    Connection is no issue either..You hook up the DirecTivo just like any other satellite reciever except it has two feeds from the dish (for recording 2 shows at once). No IR mouse for control, no audio and video cables between two boxes. Setup is easier too, just put in your dish type and area code, and pick the phone number you want to use.

    HD just came to my area in Cable. If I had Digital Cable on all my TVs (4) with HD at my main TV, with HBO it would be $94 PLUS tax. (COX cable in CT - 4 boxes - one HD with HD package $9.99) And that is with NO DVR capabilities.

    My direcTV Service right now has 4 DirecTivos, and one HD (2 boxes in one room - have to in order to get HD and Tivo in my main room) So I pay $20 for 4 extra boxes, $11 for HD stuff, and $12 for HBO, but after tax its still only $93. So its still cheaper and has more channels than Digital Cable, with better picture and all the advantages of DirecTivo units. Sure it cost me about $1000 (most of that is the HD tuner) for all the equipment, but to me its worth it.

    Oh and BTW the new DirecTivo unit will have 4 tuners (2 off the air and 2 Satellite). You will still be only allowed to record 2 at once (any combination of the 4).

    The FCC just passed the new Digital Cable law. No on the fly downconverting of HD material, but you will not be able to digitaly record premium channels in HD, but OTA stuff you will be. I am not sure if that is what Tivo was waiting for in releasing the new HD Tivos, but it could be.

    For more info on Tivo -> www.tivocommunity.com
     
  18. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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  19. Brian Fitterman

    Brian Fitterman Stunt Coordinator

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  20. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Brian- Thanks. Yes, that is the conclusion I have come to as well: typical cable price *without* DVR more or less equals DirecTivo pricing. I was thinking about this, this morning:

    DirecTV => DirecTivo => HDirecTivo [​IMG]

    I guess I need to think about whether to switch now or wait for HDTV... Good thread.
     

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